January 04, 2012

Microsoft Accuses UK Retailer of Pirating and Selling Windows


When most people think of software piracy, they think of shady back-room shops and street peddlers, and lurid people making handshake deals while looking over their shoulders for federal agents. Turns out, that's not always the case.

Microsoft (News - Alert) has accused U.K.-based electronics retail chain Comet of illegally duplicating and selling about 94,000 copies of both Windows Vista and Windows XP, Yahoo's Today in Tech blog is reporting today.

Microsoft's suit has accused Comet of setting up a piracy shop at a factory located in Hampshire, England. There it took legitimately purchased Windows recovery and reinstallation discs and made tens of thousands of pirated copies. Microsoft says the retailer then bundled the illegal software with new PCs and sold them at its store locations.

Comet, which has been fighting to remain afloat as of late, issued a curious defense. It doesn't deny making the copies, but it claims it had a legitimate reason for doing so. The retailer claims that it was acting in the best interest of its customers, and only began providing the illegal discs when Microsoft halted the inclusion of recovery software with new PCs, and that it plans to vigorously defend its position in court, Yahoo reports.

Should be an interesting court fight.



Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell